It was a slow night. The guys and Rhu had come back from their two-day supply run downhearted, with only some tins of soup and more flour and sugar to show for it. Not enough for a month with the amount of people here.
"Everything's gone," Owen complained to me. "We went the complete way across the city, and nothing. It's all been used up or destroyed, or is beyond eating."
Anna frowned. "It's been months since the start of this," she said. "I would have thought food would have run out a long time ago.
The day after that, Tom and Si had secretly gone out while Owen was occupied, and came back with a chemist store cupboard in the back of the van. So now our three resident first aiders were sorting through that.
There were about fifteen of us currently with nothing to do, and since we were all in what Si called "playing age", he suggested we have a game of spin the bottle.
The kids were sleeping. All of them. It was like a miracle.
Rhu refused to play, but wasn't with a lack of comments to make about it.
One girl, Claira, got a little worked up about it. "Oh my God," she fretted in the stereotypical American girly way, fanning herself with her hand and everything. It was hilarious. "Oh my God, I- I just don't get it. Like, how can you just kiss someone who you're not in love with?"
Si sighed, picked a girl at random and gave her a peck on the lips. "Like that," he told Claira. "And you know I'm gay, so point proven. Honestly, Claira, it's just a game."
"I... what're the rules?"
"Me and Funnel discussed earlier what they should be for this one. We're gonna try and make it last as long as we can, so go on Funnel."
I shifted so that I was kneeling on the concrete floor. "OK, so. If you get paired with someone, kiss them on the cheek. Get paired with them again, peck on the lips. Third time, five seconds on the lips. Fourth, five seconds open mouth. Fifth, ten seconds. Sixth, two second tongues. Then from there it's tongues with the time increasing by five every time. Got it?"
Following that, I got paired with Si a consecutive three times. Then, every time the bottle spun to him, he shot me a panicky-awkward look, just in case. The bottle had me kissing Tom three times, as well. He asked me out after every one 'to make the game more interesting'.
It was quite entertaining, really. No-one took it seriously. The best time was when Si and Anna matched up for the fifth time, so they reacted as though it was a casual everyday thing, and Si made a 'call me' motion afterwards.
Claira got paired with Tom eight times, but she point blank refused to do more than a peck after the sixth.
Throughout the time playing, people left to get some sleep. Eventually, it was just me and Tom in semi-darkness. I could feel my pulse rising, the absence of light starting to scare me.
I was about to suggest that we go to bed, too, but I heard the bottle spinning.
"Tom... that's not necessary..."
"I know," he said quietly. "Oh look, it's me and you again. Fourth, is it?"
He leaned close to me and I leaned away. My hyperventilation wasn't helping. "Tom, I swear if you do this, I will never talk to you again."
"You set down the rules," he replied. Then gently placed his hand on the back of my neck and pressed his lips to mine. He kissed me more than once, and I was shaking with a mixture of fear and anger... and something else, which couldn't quite pinpoint.
Then his lips parted and I froze, tensing. Sensing my distress, he pulled away, and in a second I was on my feet and about ten metres away from him.
"Don't ever do that again," I spat at him.
"Berny, I didn't mean to..." he took a step towards me, and knocked over the candle which was our source of light.
I bit my lip to keep myself from screaming. I could hear his footsteps, but I had no sense of where he was.
"Tom, stay where you are. Don't come a step closer to me. I mean it," the panic in my voice was all too apparent, and as I backed away, I tripped on something and fell. Scrambling about, I tried to find a way out of there, and all the time Tom's footfalls could be heard trying to find me.
I couldn't see anything.
It was like hell.
"Berny, please Let me help you," Tom begged. "I can tell you're scared, I just want to-"
"No!" I shouted aimlessly into the blackness. "No, stay away from me! I don't wan't you anywhere near me!"
"For fuck's sake, Berny!" He retorted icily, and the footsteps stopped. "OK, look, I stopped! OK? Now please!"
"I said leave me alone!" I yelled, and tears started streaming down my face. "I don't want you to talk, or move, or do anything! Just stay where you are! Or leave! But don't come anywhere near me! I didn't want you to kiss me, Tom! I told you not to, so why did you? I, I, I..." I trailed off, whimpering.
"Do you not even like me? Haven't you even given it a second thought since Rhubarb and Anna said?" He demanded of me.
"NO!" I screamed, the level of terror I was feeling making my voice raise a few pitches. "Go away, Tom! I HATE YOU!"